Our Services

ESTATE PLANNING, DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY AND ADVANCE MEDICAL DIRECTIVES

ESTATE PLANNING is the use of wills, trusts, durable powers of attorney and advance medical directives to protect an individual’s personal and financial decisions during their lifetime and beyond.

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Regardless of an individual’s net worth, it is important to have comprehensive documents that allow each person to plan who will make their financial and medical decisions should they become incapacitated, and who will follow the individual’s wishes regarding the distribution of assets at such person’s death.

A durable power of attorney appoints a financial agent to make financial decisions for a person who becomes incapacitated and this document will avoid the need to file a guardianship action in court.

Likewise, an advance medical directive appoints a health care representative to make medical decisions for an incapacitated person. A properly drafted will insures that the right guardians will be appointed for minor children and that the children’s inheritance will be protected in a trust fund. In addition, a carefully drafted will can minimize or eliminate estate taxes through the use of credit shelter trusts or disclaimer trusts. An experienced estate planning attorney can evaluate each client’s unique circumstances and tailor an estate plan to accomplish the client’s goals of preserving an inheritance and minimizing any estate taxes.

ELDER LAW

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New Jersey elder law attorney estate planning

Elder Law has become a critical area of law as people live longer but may require long-term care at costs that can easily wipe out lifetime savings. Studies show that four out of ten adults reaching age 65 will spend some time in a nursing home and many more individuals will need home health care and assistance with daily living.

Because nursing home costs may exceed $100,000 per year, it is imperative that elder lawyers help seniors to plan properly for the potential need for such expensive care. At the Timothy Rice Estate and Elder Law Firm, we have worked with hundreds of families over the past 19 years to accomplish goals of achieving Medicaid eligibility to pay for long-term care costs while maximizing the protection of the family’s savings for the family and its heirs.

In addition, our skillful attorneys routinely review and evaluate assisted living and nursing home contracts to protect family members regarding financial and medical issues. Federal and state Medicaid laws and regulations have changed considerably in the past three years, making it imperative that seniors consult an experienced elder lawyer to protect their rights while navigating through the complexities of the Medicaid process.

ESTATE AND TRUST ADMINISTRATION

The Law Office of Timothy J. Rice is approaching his 20th year of experience representing executors and administrators through the probate and estate or trust administration process, which often includes the preparation of estate and inheritance tax returns and accounting as well as assistance with the distribution of estate assets to the beneficiaries.

Our Firm provides in-depth advice on legal and tax-related issues involved in estate and trust administrations while remaining sensitive to the emotional needs of the families who are dealing with the death of a loved one. For estates that include real estate holdings, our Firm provides services regarding real estate contracts and settlements.

GUARDIANSHIPS

A guardianship is a legal process in which courts determine if an individual is “incapacitated”…that is, unable to manage his/her own financial and personal affairs. The guardianship court rules require that two doctors examine the individual and submit a report concluding that the individual is incapacitated. The court also appoints an attorney for the alleged incapacitated person, who will then meet with the person who is allegedly incapacitated, review all doctors findings, interview family members, and thereafter render to the court his or her unbiased report regarding the capacity of the person involved, and provide the court with a recommendation for guardian(s).

After review of the court-appointed attorney’s report, and if the court agrees with the medical findings of incapacity submitted by the two physicians, then the court will render a decision and appoint a suitable guardian who will make financial and medical decisions for the incapacitated person. Spouses and children, in that order, are the most likely candidates to be appointed as guardians of an incapacitated person.

Often times, the guardianship process becomes much more difficult, time-consuming and expensive when there are family members who contest each other’s right to become guardian. Much like estate litigation matters, guardianships can become the forum for bitter and protracted family feuds. These contests can often times be avoided if the individual executes a Durable Power of Attorney that appoints an Agent to manage the financial affairs to provide for such insistence of incapacity.

The Law Office of Timothy J. Rice has a broad background in representing clients involved in both contested and uncontested guardianship cases in courts throughout southern and central New Jersey. Our Firm’s knowledge of the Medicaid laws can benefit guardians by seeking court approval of Medicaid planning and asset protection as part of the guardianship process.

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS

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Guardianships and Estate Litigation Special Needs Trusts are legal entities that may be used to hold and manage assets for a disabled individual while protecting that individual’s eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income benefits. A special needs trust is authorized by and must comply with both federal and state laws.

The Law Office of Timothy J. Rice has successfully obtained court approval of special needs trusts and supplemental benefits trusts for disabled individuals in court venues throughout New Jersey, including the following counties: Camden, Gloucester, Atlantic, Burlington and Essex.

ESTATE LITIGATION

At the Law Office of Timothy J. Rice, our attorneys have extensive experience in litigating contested estates in all courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Whether you are an executor seeking to defend a will contest, or a beneficiary who seeks to challenge a will or an executor’s administration of an estate, we aggressively advocate our clients’ interests in a contested estate. It should be underscored that laws in New Jersey and Pennsylvania require prompt filing of any challenges to wills; therefore, the Law Office of Timothy J. Rice recommends that individuals contact us as soon as possible to discuss their rights involving contested estates.

Disclaimer: We hope that this page provides you with some useful baseline legal information. However, please note that legal information is not the same as legal advice, and that no relationship of attorney and client is inferred or implied by furnishing the information contained on this website. Application of law must take into consideration an individual’s specific circumstances and any changes in law as they arise. Although we take great strides to ensure the information provided on our website is both accurate and useful to our readers, you should not rely solely upon this information in making legal decisions. Instead, we recommend that you retain counsel to review and serve your Estate and Medicaid planning needs and concerns.